Letter: House Bill 140 isn’t right redistricting solution

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 12, 2020

North Carolinians have spent nearly a decade voting in districts manipulated to favor politicians instead of voters.

There’s no doubt that voters deserve real redistricting reform. However, the bill endorsed in John Hood’s recent column—House Bill 140 — isn’t the answer.

Not all reform is created equal, and this bill certainly isn’t the best path forward for our state.

H.B. 140 simply doesn’t do enough to protect voters from gerrymandering. The bill lacks protections for minority communities and fails to provide adequate means for the public to participate in the map-drawing process. It also transfers map-drawing power to a partisan appointee and opens up the possibility of using citizenship data to draw the maps.

In fact, H.B. 140 could actually reduce transparency in the redistricting process compared to current requirements.

Truly forward-looking reform can be a supremely useful tool in the fight against gerrymandering and the push for fair maps, but we shouldn’t pass reform just for the sake of it. Robust, independent redistricting reform is the real good idea for North Carolina in 2020, not H.B. 140’s false promises.

Lekha Shupeck